Tales of the Artichoke King

Oct 14, 2009 - by Allan May - 0 Comments

Ciro Terranova

Ciro Terranova

The story of Ciro Terranova - believed by some to be the original "Boss of Bosses" in New York City.

by Allan May

As a history writer covering organized crime, one of my concerns is to find reliable sources for the stories I produce. One of the ways I try to do that is by using two or three references (books, magazines or newspaper articles) that confirm the same facts. Many times this is easier said than done. Information on the early lives of people I write about is especially hard to find and confirm.

Take the life of Ciro Terranova – the "Artichoke King." Information on Terranova’s early life is taken from The Rise of the Mafia in New York: From 1896 Through World War II, by Giuseppe Selvaggi. The book, written in Italian and later translated to English, was promoted as the "hitherto untold story" of the early days of the Mafia. Selvaggi was described as one of Italy’s leading political journalists. Much of the information in the book was gleaned from interviews with Zio Trestelle and other "noted criminals" deported to Italy from the United States. The revelations in this book must be taken in the same light as those of Nicola Gentile, whose Vita Di Capomafia is written along similar lines.

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